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York College goalkeeper Becky Sidwell helps England team win football tournament in Italy

York College goalkeeper Becky Sidwell helped her country emerge triumphant from an eight-nation football tournament in Italy by keeping a clean sheet in a 3-0 final win over Lithuania.

Becky, 18, was part of the England Colleges FA representative team that lifted the trophy following a demanding schedule of four games in five days.

She played in two of the three group stage fixtures that saw the College Lionesses prevail against Canada, Ukraine and Montenegro.

The Level 3 Sport and Exercise Student, who also plays between the sticks for York City Ladies, then donned the gloves for the final and, summing up the side’s success, she said: “I’d never taken part in a tournament of that nature, never mind it being abroad as well, so it was an experience like no other for me and to win it felt amazing.

“During the final, it was only 1-0 at half-time, so we knew we hadn’t won it at that point, but the vibe around the squad all week was so good and supportive, especially in that last game, which helped. I had a few crosses to deal with and there was a lot of sweeping up, but I think I only had to deal with one direct shot on goal, so it was fairly quiet because all the girls played so well.”

Becky is the latest York College student to star for the national representative team – a talented list of players that includes the Euro 2022-winning and Team GB Olympian Rachel Daly.

Admitting that the Harrogate-born Aston Villa player is an inspiring role model, Ripon-based Becky said: “Where Rachel Daly grew up is about 20 minutes from where I live, so I’ve always heard a lot about her and, having people like that who you can look up to that prove you can play at this level and then go on to play for England Lionesses, does give you something to aspire to.”

Based just outside of Rome, Becky and the team did get one day to see the sights, visiting the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain, while zooming around Italy’s capital city on e-scooters and also fitting in a spot of shopping.

The trip followed on from games against Bristol City (3-3) and the Independent Schools FA representative team (0-1) earlier this season with the squad also enjoying a training camp at St George’s Park – the Football Association’s national centre in Burton upon Trent, where the likes of Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Mary Earps and Daly are put through their paces by Gareth Southgate and Sarina Wiegman.

“It was amazing and so big,” Becky said of that experience. “We got to use the swimming pool and spa too and there are so many pitches.”

Becky’s international commitments for the season, meanwhile, will end with a match against Wales next month.

“That should be really good, because it will be like a UK derby, so I’m looking forward to that,” she enthused.

For now, though, Becky is focused on helping the College team navigate an exciting end to the season, which sees them currently challenging for the regional league title and preparing for the quarter-finals of the National Cup, as well as the National Seven-a-Side finals.

She also continues to impress for York City in this country’s fourth tier and, on juggling her playing responsibilities for college, club and country, Becky declared: “It’s important to get as much training and games as I can at the moment, because that can only help me learn and develop as quickly as possible to get me further and further in the game.”

On Becky's success in Italy, York College & University Centre Sports Development Centre Co-ordinator Stu Horsfield said: "It's an incredible achievement for Becky. To be regarded as one of the top two College keepers in the country is one thing but, to then go abroad and become part of the best team in a European tournament, is a testament to her hard work and ability.

"I think her attitude, dedication and commitment to training is very much evident in everything that she does and she is a great role model here at the College for all the players coming through."